Developments in telecommunications policy being made in the legal system.
The broadband industry says that a New York state ruling against requiring broadband providers to offer $15-a-month service to low-income households supports its quest to block California's net neutrality law. The California law prohibits broadband providers from blocking or throttling content, charging higher fees for prioritized delivery, and exempting certain data from customers' monthly caps.
The National Association of Broadcasters said a recent appeals court decision has established the precedent for commission authority to levy regulatory fees on Big Tech.
A federal appeals court ruled that Huawei can’t subsidize the sale of its 5G technology with federal funds earmarked for US broadband development because the Federal Communications Commission determined the company is a national security threat. The 5th Circuit Court agreed that the FCC was fully within its power and competence to issue the rule barring “Universal Service Fund” subsidies recipients from buying equipment or services from companies deemed national security risks.
Recent revelations about Trump-era data grabs by federal authorities have put the US in a tricky spot as it competes with China to lead the digital age. As the Trump Justice Department pursued leaks and critics in Congress, the media and the White House itself, it obtained court orders to scoop up data from Apple, Microsoft and other tech providers. Then courts put the companies under gag orders that blocked them from warning their customers they'd been targeted, or even revealing the existence of the gag orders themselves.
A decision by Judge Denis Hurley of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York prohibits New York from enforcing a state law that would require broadband providers to sell $15-per-month plans to low-income households. The law was set to go into effect on June 15.
The Ohio Attorney General asked an Ohio state court to declare Google a common carrier and/or public utility under the laws of Ohio and Ohio common law. The complaint is novel -- and not obviously stupid. But it has some real obstacles to overcome. As Feld has written at length before, the history of common carrier regulation goes back 500 years in the common law.
Ohio’s attorney general filed a lawsuit asking a judge to rule that Google is a public utility. Ohio said that it is the first state in the country to bring a lawsuit seeking a court declaration that Google is a common carrier subject under state law to government regulation.
In a major moment in Apple’s efforts to fend off growing scrutiny of its power, Tim Cook took the stand in a trial for the first time as Apple’s chief executive and defended his business from accusations that it hurt app makers to expand its profits.
The Federal Trade Commission, along with law enforcement agencies from six states, sued Internet service provider Frontier Communications, alleging that the company did not provide many consumers with Internet service at the speeds it promised them, and charged many of them for more expensive and higher-speed service than Frontier actually provided. In a complaint, the FTC and its state partners allege that Frontier advertised and sold Internet service in several plans, or tiers, based on download speed.
California is urging a federal appeals court to leave in place a state net neutrality law that broadly prohibits broadband carriers from blocking or throttling traffic and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery. “Congress has not established a federal regulatory regime that bars the states from taking steps to safeguard access to something as essential as the Internet,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta argues in papers filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.